By Eric S. Lander and Eric E. Schmidt May 5
Eric S. Lander is president and founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University. Eric E. Schmidt is the executive chairman of Alphabet, the parent company of Google.
For more than a half century, the United States has operated what might be called a “Miracle Machine.” Powered by federal investment in science and technology, the machine regularly churns out breathtaking advances.
The Miracle Machine has transformed the way we live and work, strengthened national defense and revolutionized medicine. It has birthed entire industries — organized around computers, biotechnology, energy and communications — creating millions of jobs. It’s the reason the United States is the global hub for the technologies of the future: self-driving cars, genome editing, artificial intelligence, cancer immunotherapy, quantum computers and more.
Our machine is the envy of the world. And yet, while other nations, such as China, are working furiously to develop their own Miracle Machines, we’ve been neglecting ours. Though historically a bipartisan priority, science and technology funding has steadily eroded over the past decade. One example among many: Adjusted for inflation, the budget for the National Institutes of Health, the federal medical research agency, has fallen since 2003 by nearly 25 percent...
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